One of the most privileged and complex motives in the history of photography is the human face. Not only that – it has always been a heavily contested landscape, deeply invested in the aesthetic and ideological struggles concerning the nature of human beings, social class as well as its proper representation through the medium of photography. Photographs of the face, sometimes even understood as the “windows to the soul”, capture and freeze the otherwise fleeting extremes of facial expressions – the grimaces – the contortions, convulsions of the faces as the material tokens of joy, fear, and pain. By doing that, photography sets free “the optical unconsciousness” of the human face. Framing the grimaced face in the pictorial plane, photography at the same time frees it from its direct relation to the present and subjugates it through its photographic and ideological conventions (scientific and aesthetic apparatuses). The photographs of (grimaced) faces are nowadays ubiquitous and yet at the same time still bear the power of the uncanny, as if the incessant reproduction has never fully depleted its meaning nor blunted its unsettling – either ecstatic or thrilling – force.
Artists and Projects
Although the interpretations of Koštrun’s works and his entire opus are undeniably multifaceted and open to different interpretations and readings, the article suggests that all his word does share a common meditative stillness and sense of solitariness. Peter Koštrun’s opus lingers on the intersection of pristine nature and cultural landscape, on the intersection of the impact of humans on the environment and the insignificance of the individual in relation to nature. Even if Koštrun’s photographic motifs allude to archaism and romanticism, and are at first glance connected to the tradition of photographic pictorialism, they are in their essence distinctly modern, attached to the reality of the here and now. His expression is completely non-narrative in the classic sense of photographic representation, as the images do not tell a linear story, but are dedicated to visual language, which is (as opposed to the written word) always ambivalent and layered.
MEMBRANA 2 / 2017 • ISSN 2463-8501 • https://doi.org/10.47659/m2
publisher: Membrana, Maurerjeva 8, 1000 Ljubljana • tel.: +386 (0) 31 777 959
editorial board: Jan Babnik (editor-in-chief), Ilija T. Tomanić, Lenart Kučić, Emina Djukić • advisory board: Mark Curran, Murat Germen, Witold Kanicki, Ana Peraica, Iza Pevec, Matej Sitar • assistances to editorial team: Iza Pevec, Vanja Žižić
contributors of articles: Jan Babnik, Geoffrey Batchen, Miha Colner, Robbie Cooper, Robert Hariman, John Hillman, Paula Horta, Jasna Jernejšek, Asko Lehmuskallio, Anne Noble, Ana Peraica, Iza Pevec, Lara Plavčak, Devon Schiller, Monika Schwärzler, Matej Sitar, Ilija T. Tomanić
translations: Tom Smith • proofreading: Tom Smith
contributors of images: Uroš Abram, Alejandro Almaraz, Maurizio Anzeri, Aleš Beno, Diego Beyro, Nancy Burson, Federico Carpani & Indra Kumar Jha, Tadas Cerniauskas, Matej Družnik, Jillian Edelstein, Chamblis Giobbi, Heinrich Hoffman, Moa Karlberg, Jure Kastelic, Peter Koštrun, Borut Krajnc, Simon Menner, Anne Noble, Primož Predalič, Urša Premik, Carlo Van de Roer
design: Primož Pislak, LUKS Studio
printing: R-Tisk • print-run: 500
all images and texts © Membrana, except when noted otherwise • editorial photograph: Jure Kastelic, from the series Death Reporters, 2009–, courtesy of the author • last page image from: Richer, Paul Marie Louis Pierre, 1881. Etudes cliniques sur l’hystéro-épilepsie ou grande hystérie. All manuscripts are subject to blind peer review. Manuscripts and portfolios can be send to email@example.com.